|dc.description.abstract||1. Introduction -
This is a brief account of the education of immigrants at
schools within an industrial growth point in the R.S.A. It
comprises problems encountered in schools locally, the education of immigrants in foreign countries generally and
possible improvements in the education of immigrant children
in the area researched.
2. Orientation and motivation -
Since the establishment of the Department of Immigration in
1961 the ever increasing numbers of immigrants entering our
schools have created various educational problems. Consequently requests for research into these problems were made
to the Minister of National Education. The purpose of this
study is to give an objective, systematic description of the
didactic-pedagogic situation within 31 schools at which immigrants are enrolled. The areas concerned are the iron and
steel, and petrochemical industrial areas of the Transvaal
and the Orange Free State.
This study was undertaken during 1971 - 72, referring back
to 1961, and includes a universum of 17 608 children of whom
2 022 are immigrants. A sample of 300 •immigrants and a control group of 300 South Africans were taken from 17 schools.
Further information was gained from official and non-official
documents, interviews and direct observation. Research was
done in the countries of origin Israel, the Federal Republic of Germany, Switzerland, France, Belgium, the Netherlands,
England, the U.S.A. and Canada.
Immigrant children are defined as follows for the purposes of
Definition for statistical purposes: An immigrant child is a
child of foreign parents who have legally immigrated into the
R.S.A. intending to settle permanently and who qualify, or
eventually may qualify for South African citizenship through
naturalisation, or who have already obtained South African
citizenship during the lifetime of the child.
Definition for language teaching purposes: An immigrant who
requires language instruction is:
(1) a child whose mother tongue is English but who has no
knowledge of Afrikaans as a second language;
(2) a child whose mother tongue is neither Afrikaans nor
English and who has no knowledge of either Afrikaans or
English as a second language;
(3) a child whose mother tongue is neither Afrikaans nor
English but who has a knowledge of Afrikaans or English
as a second language.
These children are a potential source of linguistic problems
If knowledge of the medium of instruction is taken as a criterion immigrants can be further defined as follows for the
purpose of language teaching:
An immigrant is a child who cannot read, write or speak the
medium of instruction or the second language. Consequently
this child becomes a potential source of linguistic problems
in the medium of instruction and the second language.
3. Immigration in the R.S.A. -
A survey of immigration in the R.S.A. is essential as it determines the extent of provision required for the education of immigrant pupils. Education is a most appropriate means of promoting successful integration. It can however be applied as a
conservation mechanism for retaining the culture of the native
land. The history of immigration in South Africa illustrates
that education can bring about cultural changes. Where a policy
of dispersal was followed as in the case of the French Huguenots
they became integrated with the majority of the European population
and education brought cultural changes. Many British and
German settlers however retained their identity through
group settlement and education in their national culture.
Today immigration is necessary. European labour is required
if an economic growth rate of 5 1/2% is to be maintained. It
is also required for demographic, social and cultural reasons.
The Department of Immigration was established in 1961 to promote immigration. This Department has delegated the function
of immigrant integration to State subsidised private organizations, as well as the Department of National Education and
the Provincial Education Departments. The influx of 40 000
immigrants from various European and other countries yields
7 000 immigrant pupils annually. For socio-economic reasons
immigrants tend to settle at industrial growth points, where
this pattern of settlement influences education.
4. The education of immigrant children at an industrial
growth point in the R.S.A. -
Most immigrants within the specified terrain come from the
over-populated heavy iron and steel industrial areas or
impoverished agricultural areas of central and southern
Europe and the United Kingdom. Refugees from eastern Europe
also immigrate. For purposes of this research the immigrants
are classified into three groups according to 1 the language
of their country of origin, viz. English 34%, Continental Germanic
28% and Diverse 38%.
According to the medium of instruction the language ratio of
Afrikaans to English is 7 : 1 in the Transvaal schools, 9 : 1
in the schools of the O.F.S. and 9 : 1 in the research area.
All the English speaking immigrants are compelled to take instruction through the medium of English as English is their
home language. Parents of immigrant children who have no
knowledge of either English or Afrikaans choose the medium of
instruction artificially for their children. This results
in English being the language of choice of 97% of the Diverse
and 45% of the Continental-Germanic immigrants. Afrikaans
is the medium of instruction for the rest of the children.
Thus Afrikaans is the medium of instruction for 19% and
English the medium of instruction for 81% of the universum
of immigrants. The reasons for preference of English can
not always be accounted for educationally. According to their
medium of instruction the immigrant children are distributed
in the public, private and nursery schools of the research
area so that the number of immigrants in English medium
schools is > 40%, in parallel medium schools 5 to 15% and
in Afrikaans medium schools < 5%.
Provision is made for concessions regarding the promotion of
pupils and allocation of staff to schools with immigrant pupils. Owing to the large numbers of immigrants in English
medium schools, special staff have been appointed mainly to
English medium schools. Special teachers for immigrants have
not been trained as such. The extra staff is responsible for
extra language classes and special immigrant classes. The
normal staff undertakes the teaching of immigrants in regular
classes as many immigrants are also placed directly into
classes to follow the regular curriculum.
5. Problems in the education of immigrant children -
The dynamic problem in the education of immigrants is that
they are strange to the education in the research area. The
socio-cultural aim of education in the R.S.A. is to educate
the child within the framework of the national culture. The
basic requirement for this is a national milieu and continuity
of education. The problem is that since 1961 the continuity of
education has been impaired as a result of the ever increasing
number of immigrant children who are unevenly distributed.
Their alienation varies in the didactic-pedagogic situation
according to the extent of their exposure to the cultures of
their native land and that of South Africa. Consequently
various degrees of alienation are distinguishable in immigrant
pupils. With increasing age man loses the ability to become
proficient in new languages and absorb different cultures,
consequently change is progressively resisted. Educational
continuity is of vast importance, the disturbance of which
creates a problem as in the case of immigrants. The degree
of alienation also varies according to age, length of stay,
choice of medium of instruction, cultural deprivation, the
volume and heterogeneity of immigrants, genetic strangeness,
religious divergence, distribution or concentration of immi
grants and the attitude of South Africans.
Language and communication is ab initio the immigrants’ problem as language is the medium of instruction. Although
thought and language originate separately, language is the
vehicle of thought. The development of language is determined
by the degree to which the child is understood. Consequently
exposure to language is essential. Education through the
medium of one of the official languages is essential in, introducing the child to the national culture. Because language
medium is a prerequisite for dynamic educational progress,
immigrant children in the process of learning should never
stagnate while acquiring language proficiency. Immigrants
experience a problem in that their oral means of communication is no longer effective after immigration, because their
inner language and thoughts are still in their mother tongue.
Hence their scholastic standard often exceeds their ability
of expression in the new medium of instruction. Many immigrants who appear "dumb" have been affected by the break in
the continuity of their education. Immigrants also often
experience pronunciation problems and language confusion.
Immigrant children are also expected to master both official
languages concurrently. The accumulation of immigrants in
English medium schools however leads to the formation of
common language groups. Private mother tongue education and
ghetto formation restrict physical and functional language
contact with South Africans, which are essentials for educational adaptation.
Attainment by immigrant children in the New South African
Group Tests is mainly determined by their knowledge of the
medium of instruction and of the South African culture. There
appears to be a positive correlation between the immigrants’
intelligence on the one hand and their language development
and degree of exposure to the South African culture in the
course of time on the other hand. It is noteworthy that the
test achievements of Continental-Germanic children show a
greater degree of improvement than those of the English and
Diverse immigrant children. A probable explanation for this
phenomenon is that the Continental-Germanic children adapt
themselves sooner and better to the South African culture
than the English and Diverse groups. Similar results were
obtained in England and the U.S.A. Children from southern
European countries appear to have inferior educational potential. However intelligence tests are not culture free.
The apparent inability of the Diverse immigrant children to
acquire South African culture may also partially be due to a
lack of exposure to the South African culture because of their
accumulation in English medium schools, ghetto formation and
Compulsory education in the R.S.A. differs from that of the
countries of origin and this 90ntributes towards the immigrant children’s divergence regarding scholastic niveau and
Immigrant children are unevenly distributed in schools in the
research area. The ratio of immigrant children to South
Africans is 1 : 35 and 1 : 45 in Afrikaans medium primary
and secondary schools and 1 : 1 in English medium schools.
According to this ratio immigrant children "disappear" in
Afrikaans medium schools while they are a threat to the identity of English medium schools. In English medium schools
98% of the immigrant children in primary schools are concentrated in the junior primary phase.
Where the ratio of immigrants to South Africans exceed 1 : 3
it limits the exposure of both immigrants and South Africans
to the South African culture. This tendency promotes displacement of South African children. Unequal distribution
also occurs in courses where the Diverse children tend to
concentrate in the Std. VIII course and adaptation classes.
Ethnic groups show a tendency to concentrate in schools,
e.g. 62% of all Portuguese concentrate in one school. Causes
of unequal distribution include preference of English as the
medium of instruction, religion, ethnicentrism and cultural
conflict, the settlement pattern of immigrants and displacement of the receiving society by aggressive immigration.
Analysis of the population statistics of English medium schools
in which immigrants concentrate indicates that displacement of
South African pupils occurs when immigrants exceed 20% of the
school population and when the ratio of South African to immigrant children becomes > 1 : 3. Notwithstanding the fact that
less than 5% immigrants are found in the neighbouring Afrikaans medium schools, the enrolment in these schools shows a
regressive tendency because Afrikaans children are displaced
from the natural school zone because of immigrant group settlement. Consequently the enrolment in Afrikaans medium schools
has had to be artificially supplemented by rezoning and busing.
The consistent incidence of immigrants of a specific nationality
leads to the establishment of their own private schools as a
defensive measure in retaining their national culture.
Academic achievements of immigrants show that they meet with
more success in parallel medium schools, that the Continental-Germanic
children achieve better results and that the greatest
erosion takes place among Diverse immigrants. English immigrant
children are poorly motivated. Academic achievements of immigrant children are positively related to vocabulary, length of
domicile and adjustment. Language deficiency must be taken into
consideration for promotion purposes for two to three years
after immigration. Matriculation concessions have to be retained for Diverse children but not for English and Continental-Germanic children Cultural deprivation, irregular school
attendance and poor motivation also result in poor achievement.
There is a lack of suitable teaching methods, syllabi and
teaching aids. Teachers have not received the necessary
training for immigrant or cross-cultural education. Parents
are not involved enough in the education of their children.
6. Education of immigrants elsewhere -
Inter- and intra-continental migration causes thousands of
immigrant children to attend schools in foreign countries.
Excellent measures are taken for the elimination of immigrant
alienation and for the conservation of the national character
of education, religion, language and the autochthonous population in schools. Intensive research preceded these measures
and the statistics of immigration were taken into consideration
in the planning of education.
The majority of immigrant countries have formulated policies
which provide for inter alia the dispersal of immigrants limiting
them to 20% per school, 5% per nationality per school and four
to five per class. The necessary consideration is given to the
religion of immigrants, but dispersal and education are regarded
as sufficient safeguard for native mores, religion and culture.
Immigrants are compelled to master the medium of instruction as
a prerequisite for cultural integration. The official medium
of instruction is compulsory in order to prevent the formation
of foreign language groups. Immigrants are exempted from the
second language and allowed to study their mother tongue as a
subject. In cases where a foreign language is taken, the consolidation of the medium of instruction receives priority.
Although private schools exist they are not regarded as desirable
because of their curbing effect on integration.
The grouping of immigrants in classes depends on their varying
degrees of alienation and on how soon the continuity of education
can be restored. Pre-school immigrant children attend nursery
schools in order to promote mastery of the-medium of instruction.
Reception centres are provided from where immigrants are directed
to schools. Dispersal in ordinary classes9 flexible integration,
promotion classes, intensive term and year classes are utilized.
Adolescents are required to comply with the regulations regarding
compulsory education in order to promote their social, cultural
and economic integration. Remedial education is provided and
teaching content adjusted and optimally utilized for transcultural
Special methods of language teaching, for instance the audio-
linguistic method - based on words and structures with the
highest use frequency - are used to enable the immigrant pupils
to master a functional vocabulary quickly. Various teaching
aids are used, e.g. creation of realistic conditions in teaching,
holiday projects and various audio-visual aids.
Specially trained supernumerary teaching staff are appointed.
Immigrant parents are also taught the new language in order to
promote their economic value but also with a view to cultural
integration. A marked deficiency in the education of immigrant
pupils is encountered in countries where no research has been
done on education of immigrants. In such countries the alienation of immigrant children is emphasised and prolonged by their
isolation in "Ubergangklasse" and accumulation in ordinary classes.
7. Possible solutions to the problems in the education of
immigrant children in the research area -
In order to evaluate the education of immigrant pupils in the
research area, criteria were formulated with due regard to the
deficiencies of education in the research area, historical aspects of immigrant education and successful measures that have
been taken abroad. Local immigrant teaching was subsequently
evaluated by application of the formulated criteria, hence
deficiencies and excellencies in local measures were revealed.
The following proposals for the improvement of immigrant
education in the research area were deduced:
7.1. Education and immigration should be co-ordinated for the
"South Africanizing” of immigrant children and for the
protection of the national character of education and
national identity. This demands co-ordination concerning
the extent of provision of education for immigrant children
and the nature and extent of immigration.
(a) Research should be done immediately concerning the
factors underlying the alienation of immigrants and
the factors determining the national character of
(b) National education policy demands education with a
broad national character. This implies elimination
of alienation amongst immigrants and cultural
integration with a view to ultimate citizenship. On
the other hand it implies the protection of the
national identity and the national character of
education. South Africanization contains an inherent
dualism rooted in the division of Whites into English
speaking and Afrikaans speaking groups. For the
purposes of this thesis South Africanization means
identification with either the Afrikaans or English section
of the community.
(c) Protection of the national character demands that the
volume and origin of immigrants should be controlled
and that the assimilability o:f prospective immigrants
should be carefully considered. Immigrants should be
limited to 20% per school, four to five per class and
5% per nationality per school.
Immigrants should attend the schools in the immediate
vicinity of their homes. Zoning should be statistically
planned to prevent excessive concentration of immigrants
in certain schools, and in order to promote fraternization
of immigrants with South African children guardian pupils•
should be appointed.
7.2. Immigrant education should retain the Protestant heritage
in South African education. Immigration should be limited
when the prospective immigrants are of the Roman Catholic
or Greek Orthodox faiths. Immigrants with permissive inclinations should be discouraged. Both immigrants and South
Africans should receive guidance regarding clause 2(a) of
Act no. 39 of 1967 in order to promote peaceful co-existence.
7.3. Immigrant education should preserve the traditional language
relationship of the outochthonous European population. This
entails reasonable limitation of the quota of English speaking
Immigrants should be carefully dispersed in order to maintain
a ratio of English to Afrikaans pupils of 1 : 9 in the
research area and schools of the O.F.S., and 3 : 7 in schools
of the Transvaal. Continental-Germanic children should be
canalized into the Afrikaans medium schools as Afrikaans
is closely related to their language of origin. Diverse
immigrants with no proficiency in English should also be
enrolled in Afrikaans medium schools. Under no
circumstances should State subsidies be available for private
mother tongue schools.
7.4. Immigrant education should aim at proficiency in the
second language only after knowledge of the medium of
instruction has been consolidated. Immigrant pupils
already fluent in the medium of instruction should receive
intensive instruction in the second official language.
7.5. Education in public schools should be fully utilized for
ensuring ultimate citizenship. Hence immigrants should
attend only free public schools. Immigrants may receive
instruction in their home language at the discretion of
the principal where this is justified by enrolment.
Immigrants should also be allowed to study their home language
as a third language, and matriculation subject.
7.6. Immigrant pupils including adolescents should comply with
the current regulations concerning compulsory education and
attend school regularly. Transference of immigrant pupils
to lower classes due to language deficiency should be
prohibited and immigrants should be compelled to undergo
reasonable military training.
7.7. The necessary educational guidance should be provided on
admission and primary emphasis should be placed on the
mastering of the medium of instruction.
7.8. Pre-primary education should be available for the preschool
immigrant children not proficient in the medium of
instruction. State aided and industrial nursery schools
as well as créches should be provided.
7.9. Reception centres should be provided to obtain the maximum
information regarding the potential and the scholastic
background of immigrant pupils, and to direct them to
7.10. Immigrant pupils should be placed in ordinary classes as
soon as possible and pupils not proficient in either the
medium of instruction or the second language should
receive intensive tuition in the relevant language in special
language classes. Those unacquainted with both official
languages should be flexibly integrated.
7.11. Older immigrant pupils unacquainted with the medium of
instruction and experiencing integration problems or those
who are forced to master the medium of instruction in a
very limited period before leaving school, should receive
intensive language teaching in a term, trimester or year
7.12. In exceptional cases where the standard of education of
immigrant pupils is markedly below that of their peers, special
recovery classes of up to a year’s duration should be
provided. It is also advisable to admit all immigrant; pupils
who are over the age of 13 and who have not yet passed Std.
5 to the Practical Course and to apply flexible integration
in their cases.
7.13. Suitable provision should be made for remedial teaching of
7.14. Vacation schools in rural areas, hostels and open air
schools should be utilized to South Africanize immigrant
pupils and South African pupils should receive guidance
in order to equip them to promote integration of immigrant
7.15. Subject matter should also be chosen keeping in mind the
South Africanization, integration and acquisition of South
African culture of immigrant pupils.
7.16. Immigrant pupils’ knowledge of the medium of instruction
should be taken into consideration in their evaluation.
7.17. The intensive language teaching should concentrate on the
quick mastery of a high frequency, functional vocabulary.
Audio-visual aids as well as the visual lingual method
should be fully utilized.
7.18. The enrolment of pupils should be taken into consideration
for staffing purposes. Where the number of immigrant pupils
does not justify the appointment of a supernumerary teacher,
immigrants should be grouped together in a centrally located
school until the numbers are sufficient. Provision should
be made for a language advisor and suitable staff at the
7.19. Immigrant parents should be involved in the education of
their children and master the language of instruction.||en_US